Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Let's Talk About Relapse - Day 11 - The 3 Masks of Relapse!

For several weeks, we have been talking about the importance of triggers in relapse. We have discussed how triggers can propel us back into an episode of relapse, and yet, we learned how they also can be timely teachers that direct us on our paths of wellness!  We learned that triggers can be external - coming from every place, every thing and every one! We also learned that triggers can be internal - emanating from our life messages  that we carry with us based on our past experiences. And, we even learned about relapse tools that are easy to implement  such as a "trigger thermometer" and a 4 step exercise. And, finally, we discussed the importance of professional guidance, support, and/or counseling if there are unresolved issues of injury or injustice.

Today, I am going to begin blogging about the 3 Masks of Relapse. What am I talking about?  Why are they important? Let's begin our discussion!

First of all, when we think of the word 'mask', I think most of our minds probably go to Halloween or some sort of costume event. These are fun examples of when we can dress up and cover up who we really are. We are free to be someone or become something else!  We are not constrained by our own insecurities, shyness, awkwardness, personalities, or even our looks! Why? Because we can hide behind a mask - and we can pretend to be someone or something else, at least for a while.

This same analogy holds true with our relationship with relapse. Because we are so filled with shame, embarrassment, guilt, and self-blame when we enter into relapse, we do not want to see ourselves for who we are, nor do we want others to do so either. So we hide behind masks where we can escape our pain, at least for a short time. We cover up our messes and we dress up our shame so we don't suffocate in it.

This next statement is important.  It is why I have been spending so much time on triggers... 

I believe that the very moment that we are triggered and that we are tempted into relapse, we are presented with 3 masks.  And we will do one of two things...

We will grab one, and then another, and then another, and we will lie and pretend that we are someone else. We will do the dance of self-destruction and we will tell ourselves that our turmoil is only temporary. We will hide behind our masks- slipping further and further away.


We will acknowledge and address our triggers in healthy ways and we will leave the masks behind. We will grab hold of our truths - about who we are, where we are in our recovering, and what we want for ourselves. We will do the dance of discovery and we will tell ourselves that embracing wellness leads to finding more truths and living more freely and fully.

Over the next several weeks, I am going to discuss each of the three masks and their role in seducing us into further relapse and in extending our stay there. By learning about them, we become more knowledgeable about the trappings of relapse. And, just as importantly, we become more grounded in our recovery work as we embrace healing strategies and tools to sustain us in whole and healthy ways.

Next blog, get ready for The 3 Masks of Relapse...

                                 Mask of Disguise

Mask of Detachment 

Mask of Denial

For now...please continue with your homework..
Homework: Continue working on your triggers.  Do so until it becomes second nature to you! We never let this rest.  Remember, triggers are our friends - our teaching companions! Our best allies!! Visit previous blogs for more instructions!

Also, I would love to share something special with you!
Special Offer!!  If you want to enter to win a free copy of Mountain Air: Relapsing and Finding the Way Back...One Breath at a Time, go to Goodreads Giveaway! Starts July 25th, 2013!!  Chapter Five -Fissure in the Soil - deals with the 3 masks!!

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